salt flats left by the receding Salt Sea of Israel
by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. Matthew 5:13
Since genuine salt, by itself, can never lose its flavor as its chemical properties do not change, this saying in Matthew becomes difficult to understand. Under what circumstances could salt lose its flavor?
Salt is a compound of sodium (Na), an unstable metal that is highly flammable and chloride (Cl), a lethal gas. When salt is exposed to extreme heat, these elements are released - producing an environment that causes heat retention. Those who know their way around cooking techniques know that salt added to water makes the water boil at a higher temperature, thus reducing cooking time.
The background of the saying Yeshua referred to goes to the use by mid-east bakers of the time to line the floor of their ovens with salt blocks to make the fire hotter. Under the intense heat of the oven fire, these blocks would eventually crystallize and undergo a change in chemical composition, finally becoming unusable. At that point, they would be crushed and thrown out with their only usefulness defined as a covering for the roadways that were heavily walked upon.
This verse comes immediately on the heels of the Sermon on the Mount (often referred to as the Beatitudes) that begins the chapter in Matthew 5 (click on highlighted words to view content) where Yeshua describes the makeup of spirit, the "chemical composition" if you will, of those who long for the Spirit of the Father. (see the Beatitudes for an extended look).
...the crucible of fire
Every one of the Beatitudes listed describes how the external should be responded to from within. The last involves persecution. It is amusing to think that when true persecution comes, people believe those qualities listed in the Beatitudes will somehow miraculously just rise from within to be exhibited toward perfect strangers when they have yet to be exercised toward those whom we love and are in the closest proximity to us right now.
|"I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Spirit and fire ." Matthew 3:11|
...purified seven times
|"Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Messiah's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy." I Peter 4:12-13.|
Hebrews 5:8 says that Yeshua, our example, learned obedience to the Father by the things which he suffered. Our natural, human inclination is to recoil from the heat of the fire because it is not pleasant and is uncomfortable; but, in so doing, we extract ourselves from the very process used to fashion us, to shape us and to mold us into His image. It is in the extremes that we learn of His nature. If we choose to exhibit His nature in the extremes then the power of Spirit is unleashed within us to temper us to withstand and, in the midst of the fire, to be a "sweet smelling" flavor to the rest of the world (Ephesians 4:27).
|"For we are unto Elohim a sweet savour of Messiah, both among those being saved and among those being lost..." 2Corinthians 2:15|
Please feel free to email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to share with you what the Spirit is uncovering.